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King Ludwig II - The Wittelsbach palaces of Bavaria

    • Explore eight royal palaces and castles set against the breathtaking backdrop of Germany’s most beautiful state.
    • Learn about the lives, loves and legacies of King Ludwig II and the House of Wittelsbach, rulers of Bavaria for over 700 years.
    • Art and architecture from the Renaissance through to Late Romanticism, much of it opulent and theatrical.
    • Includes a performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in 2015.
    • Led by Tom Abbott, specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th century with a wide knowledge of the performing arts.
Linderhof, Wood Engraving From The Magazine Of Art 1887.
Linderhof, wood engraving from The Magazine of Art 1887.

Germany’s large and beautiful south-eastern state of Bavaria is an established destination for Martin Randall Travel, with a number of tours over the years dedicated to a variety of themes. This tour has a different focus, that of the legendary ‘Swan King’ Ludwig II and the House of Wittelsbach from which he hailed, and his extraordinary architectural and cultural legacy.

Architecturally and artistically, the tour encompasses outstanding examples of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical and Romantic styles as well as Ludwig’s fairytale follies. Historically it examines the eccentric world of one of Europe’s most controversial monarchs and in the story of what, until German unification, counted as one of the continent’s most important little states.

It is true that Ludwig II’s predilection for aesthetic absorption over political and legal leadership gained him fierce opposition and criticism, but this handsome young king and his elaborate castles are responsible for a considerable proportion of Bavaria’s appeal today. Ironically, the dream world into which the sovereign retreated in order to escape the responsibilities of state now benefits Ludwig’s former kingdom in a way it never did when he inhabited it.

Was he, to quote one of his more defamatory monikers, insane? Or simply weak, of solitary disposition, and therefore tragically unsuited to the role imposed upon him at a time of Bavaria’s considerable political fragility and conflict with Prussia, Austria and France? Once deposed in 1886, what was the cause of his untimely death? Was it suicide, or did it take place at the hand of murderous detractors? Or was it mere accident? Was he an impotent and irresponsible sybarite or a luminous benefactor of the arts?

Read itinerary

from £2,360
7–12 Jul 2015
Lecturer: Tom Abbott
The itinerary was excellent. We went to the sites in the right order for the development of Ludwig’s life and work. 
The lecturer was not only first class with a limitless knowledge of his subject, which he delivers with contagious enthusiasm and humour but he us also a very kind and thoughtful man. 
It was a privilege to have the lecturer as our lecturer. 
I absolutely adored this tour! Almost everything was perfect. 
The tour was superb and well paced and at no time did I feel rushed. 

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